Republicans on Capitol Hill managed to make the most of their time in the majority these past two years. With a favorable president in the White House for the first time since they took the gavel in 2011, they were able to pass lots of legislation, including historic tax reform that has only begun to pay dividends to American workers. That said, now that Nancy Pelosi is House Speaker and Republicans are once again reduced to being the opposition party in the House of Representatives, some GOPers are expressing regret. Much was done, but perhaps not as much as could have been.
“The failure of this Republican Congress to repeal Obamacare, secure our borders and address our deficit and debt may be a pivot point in the failure of America going forward,” said Rep. Mo Brooks in remarks to the Washington Times.
The failure to repeal Obamacare has been a repeated theme for Republicans who think that was a promise that should have been easy to keep. While Republicans did eke out a minor victory by repealing the individual mandate (a move that might have effectively unraveled the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act), they could not come up with a repeal-and-replace package that could make it to the president’s desk. The best the House could do was “skinny repeal,” which wound up losing in the Senate after John McCain’s infamous, middle-of-the-night thumbs down.
“More missed opportunities than anything,” said Rep. Louie Gohmert, who lamented the fact that Republicans were unable to block federal money from going to Planned Parenthood.
“No question about it,” Florida’s Neal Dunn said of Obamacare repeal. “I’m a doctor by trade, and it was one of the things I was counting on doing here.”
But for many of Trump’s biggest supporters on the ground, it is the failure to fund the wall that will stand as the greatest swing-and-a-miss of the Republican majority. Perhaps it is unfair to hold the House responsible for that failure; under Ryan, after all, they did actually vote for the money. It is the Senate where such plans went to die. Even so, you can play “pass the blame” all day long. When the rubber meets the road, we still have no wall.
Hopefully, the next two years of House Democrat rule will go by quickly and end just as quickly. Hopefully, Trump will get his second term and we can see more of the MAGA agenda at that time. But the fact remains that, for the next two years at least, everything of any conservative value is going to be a tough sell with Pelosi holding the gavel. And if that doesn’t change in 2020 (or, as could happen, actually gets worse), then yeah, the last two years were indeed a missed opportunity.